For the past few years I've considered Russian food to be the traditional Petrov Day food for my own celebrations, but I've never managed to write a post about it at a reasonable time. Today, a few weeks before Petrov Day, I managed to think about it at a reasonable time and figured I'd rather do an 80/20 post about it, and hope people contribute more in the comments.
Why Russian Food?
- It's good for celebrations to have specific food, such as turkey for Thanksgiving. They feel more special that way.
- Most people don't eat Russian food on a regular basis, so it can be a "special" thing, in a way that e.g. hamburgers wouldn't be.
- The biggest Petrov Day stories (Petrov and Arkhipov) are about Soviets during the Cold War, so it's thematic.
- Many rationalists, such as myself, are of Russian / Eastern European descent so already have holiday memories around Russian food.
Easy Mostly Veg*an Russian Foods
- Kvas, a beverage with tastes in between soda and beer, very lightly alcoholic, and available at your local Eastern European store.
- Kasha aka buckwheat. Very easy to make. If you are a veg*n there are good fake chik'n bouillons available, and I strongly recommend cooking this with chicken / chik'n broth instead of plain water. Mushrooms and onions only if you're feeling fancy.
- Veg*an Sausage. It's just a good easy veg*n protein option, and sausage is often paired with kasha.
- Borscht, a vegetable soup with beets and cabbage, topped with (optional) sour cream. For an easy version, search for a recipe that uses canned beets. I'll put my dad's easy recipe in a comment below.
- Black bread with butter and (optional) salmon roe.
- Russian chocolates, individually wrapped. Available at your local Eastern European store. The Mishas (little bear) and chocolate covered jellies are generally well-liked.
Ukrainian and Belarusian food works, too, since back in the Petrov's times there was the sense of unity between the three that is gone now.
One of the classic recipes that is veg or easy to veg is potato or zucchini latkes (fritters).
I would like to espouse strong encouragement for people to try out latkes!
Try adding onions and smoked paprika if you're getting tired of boring ones. They're especially good with substitute vegan sour creme and/or pickled veg (eg. sauerkraut)
Agreed! Everything that I shared is actually from my Soviet Ukrainian family, who used to just call themselves "Russian" as an easily-understood shorthand for Americans who wouldn't have known where "Ukraine" was back then.
I actually think just about anything Eastern European is good for this.
My Ukrainian dad's easy borscht recipe:
small cabbage (or half large one), I prefer red cabbage, but green is fine also.
1 can of sliced beets, onion, few garlic cloves, one potato, 2 bay leaves, salt/paper.
Pour 6-8 cups of water in a pot ( or fill pot up to half) and turn your stove on..
Once water is getting hot- slice onion on small pieces and add to the water, then start slicing cabbage on small pieces (editor's note- You can also use pre-sliced cabbage from a bag) then add to the water, bring it to the boil, reduce heat so it barely boils, add sliced garlic and two or three bay leaves. Check your time- once cabbage is in and water is boiling it will take approx. 40 min to make it done. In a beginning it looks like you have a lot of cabbage but don’t worry – it will cooks down and make more liquids. Now you can work on potato: slice and add, slice and add one carrot. Cover and let it cook. During the last ten minutes open can of beets and add all content including a juce. Bring to the boil again, taste it…add one or two tablespoon of vinegar ( I preferred Apple cider vinegar, but..) if you don’t have vinegar substitute with lemon juce. You are DONE. Takes 40 min from boiling… Serve as is or you can add small spoon of sour cream on a top of the bowl, sprinkle with a dill if you wish
Thanks! I've been wanting rationalist holidays to have more specific food. There's a problem where I don't normally cook much at all and it's hard for me to be-the-change-I-wanna-see.